Irina Burnaia file photo [23023]

Irina Burnaia

Given NameIrina


ww2dbaseIrina Cioc was born in Ciurari, Teleorman County, Romania near the Burnaia River in 1909. She received a law degree from the University of Bucharest and became an attorney. In 1933, she took a flight from Bucharest to Constanta, Romania, and became interested in aviation. The pilot of that particular flight, Petre Ivanovici, introduced her to a government-sponsored training program in which he served as an instructor. She began flight lessons one month later, and received her pilot's license on 27 Oct 1933, becoming the second Romanian woman to earn the license after Ioana Cantacuzino. In the subsequent years, she would make several flights to Africa, tours that aimed at promoting interest in aviation in Romania. In 1937, she was awarded with the Order of Aeronautical Virtue. In the same year, she published My Wings: The Memory of Petre Ivanovici, who had died in an aircraft accident in 1936. In 1938, she married Grigore Stoenescu who shared her interest in flying. After the start of the war, Irina Burnaia, a nom de guerre named after the river near her home village, joined the Romanian Air Force's all-women "White Squadron", transporting the wounded from the front lines. In 1942, she became divorced from Stoenescu. In the same year, she was transferred to the Bugului Squadron, which would be renamed the Bessarabia (Basarabiei) Squadron in the following year. After the war, in 1946, she married Traian Udriski. In Jan 1948, she fled Romania for Beirut, Lebanon shortly after the establishment of the Communist Romanian state. In 1950, she was found guilty of war crimes in absentia by the Communist government. In 1958, Burnaia and Udriski moved to Geneva, Switzerland due to unrest in Lebanon. She published her war time memoirs in 1988. She passed away in Geneva in 1997.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Mar 2015

Irina Burnaia Interactive Map


Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici with an IAR-22 aircraft, 3 Jan 1935Irina Burnaia in Cairo, Egypt, Feb 1935Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici at the Băneasa airport in Bucharest, Romania, 24 Mar 1935Irina Burnaia, 1930s
See all 7 photographs of Irina Burnaia

Irina Burnaia Timeline

2 Aug 1933 Irina Cioc took a flight from Bucharest to Constanta, Romania and became interested in aviation.
5 Sep 1933 Irina Cioc began flight lessons in Romania.
27 Oct 1933 Irina Cioc received her pilot's license, becoming the second Romanian woman to do so.
3 Jan 1948 Irina Burnaia fled out of Romania for Lebanon.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Claudiu says:
25 May 2016 09:08:19 AM

Irina Cioc was born in a village in Teleorman County (Ciurari, com. Saceni) , not Ilfov !
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
25 May 2016 11:46:52 AM

Thank you Claudiu, the correction has been made.
3. Anonymous says:
5 Jan 2018 03:01:46 AM

Hello. I have a personal photo to share on this Irina Burnaia/Udrisky webpage. Would you please tell me if this is of interest to you? (Her, with her son Radu, in Beirut - undated). Kind regards. Marc Nader
4. jim Carter says:
22 Feb 2019 10:16:57 PM

I met Irina Udrisky in 1965 while at university where I
was roomate with radu udrisky when she came to the USA to visit radu and also to try and publish a book which she authored. I have since lost contact with radu and his family and often wondered what happened with them thereafter.
5. marc nader says:
31 Aug 2019 04:20:51 PM

Dear Jim, (sorry for my poor english. I'm french). I met Irina (Irène in French) while I was a child in Beirut (10 years old. 1970-1975). My parents were close friends and she was living there while her husband was a pilot at Middle East Airlines and quite often out flying off beirut. My parents and I spent afternoons at her place having tea, me playing with a cotton funny green frog I still remember now. She was around 50 years old I presume at that time. A nice photograph of her 17 years old son Radu was proudly displayed in her livingroom. With civil war reaching out lebanon, she flew back to Switzerland and settled in Geneva. One day (in the mid 90'), she called my mum in distress. Radu passed away in a brutal and unexplained accident (I think this happened in Zurich). This tragic event remained unclear neither explained. What I do know is that he fell from an under construction building 3rd or 4th story, in the unprotected staircase. Since then, I travelled to Geneva to try to meet her (in 1993 if i recall). She was living in harsh and sad conditions, heavily relying on Romanian neighbours help. She passed away shortly later and was incinerated at Geneva crematorium. After enquiring, I have been informed by Geneva cemetery administration that relatives retrieved her ashes/urn from the colombarium. Radu got a kid with an american wife, and divorced) His son now lives in America at a renowned financial institution. Sorry for these sad news. If you want some precise date records and photos, you're welcome, at least to keep Irina & Radu in our thoughts. Sincerely. Marc Nader

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Irina Burnaia Photo Gallery
Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici with an IAR-22 aircraft, 3 Jan 1935
See all 7 photographs of Irina Burnaia

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